November is not a month that all of us look forward to. Daylight continues to wane as rain showers give over to snow. But November has some big things going for it, because people some time in our past tried to make the best out of a gloomy month. And for that we have traditions.
For most of us, November begins a two-month stretch of holiday festivities, centered around food and family. There might be traditional foods on Thanksgiving or shopping rituals the next day. There might be a last trip to the cabin to winterize. For resorts it's a time to catch up on deep-cleaning or make repairs before the winter season. Folks with wood heat scramble to top off their wood pile, while many of our forest critters go hide in a hole and go to sleep.
For some, November might be the very best month.
Ask the folks that mark their calendars each year for deer hunting opener about their traditions, and you'll get an earful. Joan Farnam did. She spoke with folks up and down the shore about their yearly rituals surrounding the hunt. Some will take off work or school to wake up before dawn and sit in the woods and wait. They will spend evenings filling their bellies, bonding with their friends and family, and if they are lucky, carving up something for the winter meals ahead.
Traditions, it seems, are what make any culture or geography unique. On the North Shore, many folks make a living from the forest. Many of our communities prospered during the logging eras and Shawn Perich spoke with folks who continue making their living this way.
Another way that we celebrate tradition is through dance, and Julia Prinselaar spoke with dancers that all feel closer to their heritage by taking up a form of traditional dance. Nine-year-old Olya Wright, from Grand Marais, pictured on our cover, travels to Thunder Bay each week to practice Ukranian Dance.
There are new traditions, such as the Lake Superior Storm Festival, which, after a successful first run in 2013, will happen again Nov. 7 &8. Some folks will take a second annual plunge into Lake Superior. While that tradition is just getting underway, a more established one, Empty Bowls, will follow suit later that week. At the end of the month, the Christmas Parade, a Grand Marais tradition on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving, brings us into the holiday season, and the Christmas tree will be lit.
Kelsey Roseth takes up soup, a cold-weather tradition that we are keen on keeping, and Gord Ellis tells us the tale of a fly-in moose hunt.
Before we get ahead of ourselves—it's not quite Christmas yet after all—take time to celebrate your traditions. And remember you can always start a new one this year.—Erin Altemus